|| Asymmetry | Role-Playing | What If | Over the Rainbow ||
A challenge is delivered.
Dumas's blood boiled. Never had he treated any prisoners thus when he ruled his native Latveria. Surely these foes were the height of scum and villainy. Luckily his anger was hidden by his soldier's cowl otherwise it would have given him away while he reconstituted himself.
"Pay heed, Asgard!" Amora shouts. "Thy lord, Thor, deigns to address thee!" Amora touches the huge, red-haired Thor on the arm, and he steps forward, holding up Mjolnir for all to see....
Dumas tone was barely a whisper. "Ravdna, show us how to challenge them and tell us when, for I am ready to do battle here and on this day. We shall Avenge this affront, or I will die trying."
Rick listens to the man talking about Avenging the kidnapping, and his insides cringe. "We need to move a little closer," he whispers to Delta Vee. He starts forward, keeping on the edge of the crowd. In spite of his mission here the young man is somewhat overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of Asgard.
Following the two men in their slow, edging progress through the crowd, Aegis studies the four Asgardians on the dais from beneath the hood of her cloak. She also takes care to note the general disposition of the crowds and the room's layout. *If we do have to make a hasty exit, I'd rather not trip over anyone on the way to the door. Or window, or wall, for that matter.* With the relevant details fixed in her mind, she turns her attention to the prisoners, then looks for Union.
"Think you'll be able to do something about those chains?" she inquires, sotto voce. "I'm not willing to bet on Thor being a good sport even if we manage to win this fair and square, we may need to move quickly."
"Ill see what I can do..." Union reaches out with his magnetic manipulation abilities, trying to get a feel for the strength, weight and structure of the bonds holding the prisoners. *I doubt that they'd have forged them right onto the womentoo much risk of damaging their prizes... That means they're either rivet pins or locks on the manacles. I should be able to open locks easily, but popping the rivets might be harder. I hope no one can sense this...*
Union extends his magnetic "feelers" towards the chains binding the captive women. He is frustrated to discover that, despite his doubts to the contrary, it appears as if the chains and collars have actually somehow been forged right onto the women. He can "feel" no rivet pins or locking mechanisms.
Closing her eyes as she touches one of the raven's feathers draped about her helm Ravdna makes telepathic contact with a small number of Asgardians she can trust. "The time is upon us. You will know when to demand the challenge from Thor."
Turning toward the group her mind gently reaches out to each of them as she mentally says "We should attempt to rescue the prisoners now. My allies in the assembly will chant for a duel in the ensuing chaos. We should use this link to warn one another of impending dangers. Swear upon the tip of my spear Gungnir that no matter what happens anon we will stand to Avenge this injustice."
*Ok, old man. This is it.* Union reaches his hand up confidently, with nary a tremble to show the nerves of the man inside the armor, "You have my oath Ravdna, on Gungnir's point, that we Avengers, once assembled, will not tarry or falter in the face of injustice."
*Thanks for the warning, sister....* Aegis wonders if the Valkyrie can "hear" the thought even as she recovers from her startlement at the unexpected voice in her head. Wonders, too, if it's foolish to trust her like this.... No time for that, though.
"So sworn. Let's do this." She replaces her helmet and engages the a-grav, flying up above the crowds, toward the dais.
"I don't think so, Amora," Aegis replies to the Asgardian's arrogance, trying to watch them all once and ready to take evasive action at an instant's notice. "Surely a great warrior like Thor isn't about to brag about defeating the helpless?" She gestures at the kneeling women. *I think I'm getting the hang of this place.*
"We've come to reclaim that which he wrongfully took from our world." With that the Valkyrie steps forward standing between the captives and the more aggressive of the assembled Asgardians to whom she vocally addresses, "This is not our way. There is no heroic virtue in smiting our mortal kin. The raids upon fair Midgard serve Asgard no end. The son of our great All-Father is surely enchanted by the vipers he know holds on pedestal."
"I call him coward if he will not challenge these HEROES to a duel of honor."
Adrian's eyes roll somewhat inside the helmet *Oh wonderful. Piss him off, ladies...*
Ravdna announces telepathically "Dumas, if your abilities are impressive as thoust claim then your duty is to defend the mortal women from harm. If we fail you will need to spirit them away."
There is a ripple of murmurs, punctuated by several cries of assent to Ravdna's pointed words. Everyone can feel the tension build in the massive audience chamber. Superhumanly strong Asgardian muscles tense eagerly. Amora puts a hand on Thor's thickly muscled arm and their eyes meet. Amora shakes her head slightly. Loki's lip curls.
"Go back to your stable, Valkyrie," Loki hisses at Ravdna. "And take your nag --" He points contemptuously at Aegis. "--with you."
There is another ripple of murmurs, this one punctuated by laughter.
"I say Nay, cur. The Hel Cat of Asgard will not be silenced." Ravdna bellows
With all attention focused on Aegis, Ravdna, and the four Asgardians atop the dais, Dumas sinks below the stone floor and makes his way towards the foursome's position coming up behind them but staying phased in order to flank them.
*OK, he's closer to the women, now to cover the other side...* Union slides his way like quicksilver through the press of the crowd, his inhuman agility letting him make use of every hole and opening, slipping past burly warriors and amazonian women, while not drawing attention to himself. After a few seconds, he is at the front of the crowd, no more than a few paces from the prisoners. *Proximity should make it easier to cover them. I just wish there was some way to let them know...*
*Hey, maybe there is!* Adrian furrows his brow and thinks at Ravdna, *"Can you extend this link to the prisoners, just to let them know that were ready to get them out of here at a moments notice? It might keep them calm and make Dumas' rescue easier."*
While waiting for a response, Union fingers the weapons packages under his barbarian clothing, wondering whether any of these great inventions of his will work when the time comes...
Hoping that she will not add to their confusion Ravdna does as Union requests. She makes contact with the prisoner that first catches her attention, a young red headed woman. The mortal is awash in fear and Ravdna reels slighly as she attempts to quiet her terror with assurances of rescue. She then moves on to each of the remaining women in quick succession. She is careful to not reveal any specifics as Loki might also be a presence in their mind. One of them, the red-haired woman first contacted, nods to Ravdna. Ravnda returns the nods discreetly while she wishes there were some secret passages in the audience chamber.
Then, in the murmurs and confusion, Captain America, strangely silent since Ravdna's psychic contact stares at the assembled court with grim recognition and cold purpose far beyond his years. As he steps away from the group, he whispers to Emerald "Good luck Rick."
Struggling to keep unbidden memories from his thoughts*They deserve to know, and I swear I'll tell them, provided I survive this. Oh, God, here I go...*Captain America, in full red, white, and blue strides forward.
"THOR! I represent the honorable nation which you attacked like a common thief! If you think you can fight without your wizards," his head nods at Loki, then Amora, "your dogs," Cap's gaze and address take in the assembled warriors, resting finally on Skurge, "and that crutch," he points disdainfully at the hammer, "then by all meansBRING IT ON!"
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© 1999 Mark L. Chance et al